Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Tales and Sketches

. .

A STORY WITH A MORAL.

« Do

[ocr errors]

LUCIUS STREET.

life, had not spoiled, reached out her hai with a quick gesture of alarm and prot

tion to her child. “LOOK out, Ellen, right across the The gentleman opposite to her, with street," said Mr. Walden, laying his paper pleasant face and portly figure, and hai on his knee, and speaking to his wife, who little sprinkled with grey, caught the mo sat at the opposite front window.

ment, and looked up from his paper. you see that young man ?

“What is the matter, Ellen ? “Yes, Henry; I happen to know him, She smiled, half apologetically. one of your clerks;" and the lady turned

“I was thinking, dear, what if that I her face, most sweet, most fair, from the were ours!” beautiful child, to whom she was tossing Mr. Walden looked down on his su up and down a cluster of silver-voiced hoir a little touched. bells, and listening to its crow of triumph. "I shall never place him in the midst

“ Was one of my clerks, you mean, such temptations as my warehouse." Ellen. That's the very young man we “But this boy bad to meet them, a turned off last week for helping himself to because he failed once, it seems to me th money out of our till. You remember I

it was hard to turn him right out into ! told you about it."

cold and dark of the world.” Yes, but I never suspected that he Mr. Walden smiled a little. was the one. You know he brought me “O Ellen," he said, “that would sou messages several times from the office, and

very pretty in a story, and sentiment I was always pleased with his bright, plea- this sort is very attractive in a woman sant, courteous manner. He hadn't the

you ; but it don't do for us business m face of a rogue, Harry."

We've got to be up to the mark, hard, a “No; this was his first offence. I be

straightforward, and practical." lieve the boy was as honest when he came "And yet, Harry, you business men ha up from the country as ever one was ; but had mothers to love you, and have song he fell into bad company, and there was an your turn to love. That is the ha end of him. There's no trusting boy or straight, practical truth.” man after the first theft," and Mr. Walden When she paused, her husband be took up his paper.

“Why, Ellen, what makes you take si His wife glanced sadly across the street an interest in this clerk, whom you to the slight young figure which was slowly never seen half a dozen times ?" passing out of her range of vision. She

“I don't know, Harry.

Perhaps remembered its rapid, alert step, which had because I look at my own boy and your struck her a little while before, and fancied “Well, to please you, I'll promise tot there was remorse and depression in the him back once more, and give him a tri altered bearing. Then her glance dropped And Mrs. Walden rose up, went over on the sweet face with the wide bloom in

her husband, pushed away the black h its cheeks, and the childish wonder and joy sifted with grey, from his forehead, and in its eyes, and her heart grew pitiful, and kiss which fell there was the warm, sw reached out with half mother-yearning fragrant kiss of a loving wife. after the slight, half-drooping figure, which Half an hour later, Lucius Street was had just passed by.

tracing his steps through the wide str She thought of him, friendless, disgraced, flanked with its stately homes, down wh desolate-this youth, in the great city, so he had wandered unconsciously, for a full of all temptation and enticement; and spirit of unrest and unhappiness had tal she thought, too, of the mother he must

possession of him that day, from which once have had, and who was just as proud vainly tried to deliver himself. and fond of him as she was of her own boy ; Suddenly a voice called to him on and involuntarily this lady, with the sweet opposite side, “ Lucius ! Lucius Street! face, this lady, whom wealth and luxury, He turned, and there, standing on and all that is good and to be desired in broad stone steps of his dwelling, was

[graphic]

Walden beckoning to him. A blush burned out into the road once more, it was not up into the boy's cheek; he hesitated. as he went in. And again Mr. Walden's voice came over That night, at “Sparks’s Saloon," half a to him kindly but authoritatively, “Lucius! dozen young men and boys, bent on what Lucius Street!” And it compelled his they called "mischief” and “fun," waited steps to the gentleman's side.

vainly for another to join their company. Mr. Walden looked on his former clerk The barn was fired; the flames spread bewith kindly eyes, which were not to be yond the original intentions of the inmistaken.

cendiaries. Much valuable property was "Come in, Lucius, come in," he said. destroyed, but Lucius Street was not there And the youth followed him into the to see. He was faithful to his new covenant. great parlour, whose gorgeousness fairly He withstood the jeers and persuasions of dazzled his eyes, and the merchant, seating his old companions, the temptations and him in one chair, took another by his side, enticements of his city life. and looking at him, said in a kindly voice, As his years grew into manhood, he rose "Lucius

, you have an honest face, and you to new positions of trust and responsibility had an honest name till that time, and be- in the great warehouse, and always filled cause of it, if you had told the truth, we these to the satisfaction of the proprietora, would have forgiven and kept you."

and at last he became head clerk in the The tears strained themselves into the establishment. And it was not till the boy's eyes, his breast heaved, every limb evening of his appointment, which tran: shook. Mr. Walden was touched. He spired ten years after his reinstatement in laid his hand on the boy's shoulder. the warehouse, that he related to Mr.

“Tell me the truth' now, Lucius,” he Walden the evil into which he had fallen said, " you shall not be sorry for it.” at that time.

The boy looked up: his face was white, "I was on the brink of an awful preand worked fearfully. At last the half- cipice, sir,” he said, with emotion which coherent words struggled out.

fairly choked his words. “My ruin was "It's all dim and blurred to me, Mr. inevitable;

and it was you, under God, who Walden ; but I suppose I did take the

saved me. money, although I can't remember very “Not I,” interrupted Mr. Walden, well; the wine had got into my head.” almost as much moved as his clerk ; "it

Mr. Walden shook his head. “ Bad was Ellen, my wife, who did it all. You company, bad company, my boy,” he said. owe the thanks to her." "It

was the first time, the very first And then the senior partner, whose hair time in my life,” said the boy, speaking was not now. sifted, but crusted with silver, steady and fervent this time.

related all which had transpired between "I believe you; and now if, because of himself and his wife that afternoon in his this , we take you back once more to your sitting-room ten years ago.

And the old place, will you promise, for your own young man wept like a child again. bake, not to fail again, to avoid all tempta- “I never knew before what made Mrs. tiens of evil, wine, and wrong companions ? Walden so kind to me," he said ; "I unfor they have made you fall once, and they derstand it all now." will inevitably drift you to your ruin." “Come up to supper to-night, and tell "I will promise you, sir."

her with your own lips," said Mr. Walden. "Then be back, Lucius, to your old And Lucius went, and hearing it, Mrs. place to-morrow morning.”

Walden wept for joy, and thanked God in The boy buried his face in his hands, and her heart. burst into tears-tears which, in his case, were the blessed “latter rain," in which

THE YORKSHIRE WEAVER. welt repentance and a new purpose. And 1. Walden, touched beyond his usual It was my happiness to spend a week in alle laid his hand once more on the boy's the beautiful vale of Todmorton, Yorkthoulder, and spoke to him many words of shire, England, preaching daily in the sur. counsel and encouragement, which were rounding chapels. On one occasion I Almost fatherly in their tone, and even in- spoke of the various methods which God vited him to remain to supper with his is pleased to bless in bringing sinners to family, but the reinstated clerk declined himself, and raising up missionaries ; and doing this. And when Lucius Street went in particular mentioned family prayer.

[ocr errors]

N

on me.

upon God."

This led the interesting individual, whose house, and see the family prayer. I short history I am about to relate, to call 80; and, as a kind Providence would hi

He was a plain, sensible, kind. it, my neighbour again asked me to stop hearted man, and spoke the broad York- the family prayer. This was just wha shire dialect. I do not know if he is yet wished. Nothing on earth would hi alive; but when I saw him, his hair was as pleased me so much. So the great bo black as a raven, bis cheek bloomed with was brought, and the good man read, a health, and his eye was like a rainbow- they all fell upon their knees. I did 1 the tears and the sunbeams sparkled in it. now kneel with them ; but O, what I fel

After we had conversed for some time As soon as they rose I immediately left on various subjects, at my request he house, without saying a word, and hasten related the following particulars :

home. As I was going up the hill I felt “ I was born near the edge of yonder if I must pray that moment ; but thi lofty hill.

My father occupied a small was no shed into which I could enter a farm, on which the family used to work kneel down, and the snow was thick up during the summer months, and in the the ground; so I walked on.

But 1 winter we all wove cloth, for our own use conscience would not let me proceed. and for the market. There was no church voice seemed to say, 'Go to prayer, se near us, and we grew up in great spiritual the Lord; cry for mercy : begin at once darkness. The Sabbath was our holiday, So I pulled a large stone from the hed which we generally spent in playing at and placed it on the snow; and there, cricket and foot-ball. In this state I re

that stone, I first kneeled down and call mained until I was about twenty years of age, when one winter evening I rambled Reader, look at him for a momel down from the edge of the mountain, to There he is on his knees. “Behold, call on a neighbour who lived a few fields prayeth!” Yes, with the snow for a ca below. He was a man that feared God, pet, and a stone for his cushion, and t and was accustomed to have morning and heavens for a canopy, and the moon for evening prayer with his family. When the witness, and angels for his attendants usual hour arrived for the household to there he first cried, “Lord, have mercy assemble, he said to me, in our dialect, my soul!” Oh, what a night was that fi

John, ha mun stop to family prayer ?' I my friend! It will be remembered with ray consented. A chapter was read, and he ture after the moon has been turned int and his wife and children fell upon their blood, and the stars have withdrawn the knees, while I, as it was no business of shining. mine, sat still and looked on.

But I as- From that day the weaver became sure you, sir, I felt very strangely; I never praying man; and when I first knew hi felt so before. As soon as it was over, I he had been twenty years a deacon of left them without saying a word, and Christian church, and was well known walked to my father's house; but the one of the most active, and zealous, a scene I had witnessed could not be for

exemplary servants of Christ in all t gotten. I was struck to the heart. As I neighbourhood. ascended the side of the hill I thought, I inquired as to his progress in the rd this must surely be the worship of God. gious life. To which he replied, ") This is what I have never done, but it is ignorance of Divine things was so gre what I ought to do.

that I knew not what to do. I had 1 “ I hardly knew what to do, and I went been a drunkard, nor a swearer, nor bad to bed as usual- without prayer. But it kept company with loose young men; b was the last night I ever did so. Almost I had been living without God. Aur the first thing that came into my thoughts plans and habits, and thoughts and d when I awoke was my neighbour's family sires, had been about this world, and ner prayer. At the proper hour I went to my row higher ; but now all things were ! loom, and commenced working, but I come new. I was afraid to open my mit could not go on. I felt as if my heart to any mortal about it, but I could tell would break; and I was forced to cover Saviour ; yea, I could tell him all. M my work with a handkerchief lest the piece father had a barn, that became my favou which I was weaving should be injured by ite retreat. That was my house of praye my tears. I longed for night to return, and it was indeed the gate of heaven to m that I might go down to my neighbour's | soul. Often, often have I entered in

join in family worship, or by other means, do something for their salvation ?- Richard Knill.

THE LITTLE STRAWBERRY.

SELLER.

A TALE FOR GIRLS.

I have always

I was."

that barn, and shut the door, and kneeled and prayed to the Father who seeth in secret, and the Father who seeth in secret hath' richly rewarded me. My enjoyment was very great ; 80'netimes it was joy un. speakable and full of glory; but it was not always 90. No, there was sometimes much darkness in my mind, and Sutan took ad. vantage of it, and greatly harassed me.

" Bat the Bible is full of encouragement to a soul oppressed with guilt; and as my knowledge of that sacred book increased, so did my peace and joy; and I have often thought that God intended, by bringing me through these deep waters, to prepare me to speak a word to heavg-laden sinners. It often falls to my lot now, in my visits to the nick, and in conversing with candi. dates for admission into the Church, to meet with people under 'soul-trouble,' and

a word for them; for I never meet with any so completely dark as

I had heard from his minister of his knowledge of the Scriptures, and of his gift in prayer; and now, as I heard from his om lips his insight into the devices of Satan, and his intimate acquaintance with the human heart, I could not but admire the wisdom and goodness of God in raising up men in every station of life to direct the antious , inquiring sinner to that Saviour

" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Family prayer was a duty he often inonleated, urging those who felt its importance, but feared to engage in it, to gpin

, relying on Divine aid, for then obstaa sanished. This service also constituted the charm of his own domestic circle, for he had conscientiously regarded the apos

marry only in the Lord Oh, who can tell the delight and freshment of those hours when a family om at the altar of God: the mother reads, e children sing, the father prays, and all voutly join in worship! '"'1'is like a ile heaven below." We commended each other to God by ater, and shook hands and parted, in joyful expectation of meeting again in

are you training up a family for * judgment without family

prayer ? Do yon regard the eternal welfare of the wula of domestics under your charge ? Are there those far from God around ez and can you not, by inviting them to

[ocr errors]

It had been a very dull winter; in fact, winters are generally dull at Tunbridge Wells, for in the summer and autumn it is a fashionable visiting-place ; but as the residents are comparatively few, it is very much forsaken in the other parts of the year.

Well, the early spring found Mary Roberts and her little girl in very hrd circumstances.

The father had met wih an accident so in after Christinas, and le was still in the infirmary. The Roburises kept a small greengrocery shop in Momt Sion, and rented an acre or two of lend about ten minutes' walk out of the town, which the husband hud heretofore cultiVatel single-hanred, raising on it, heside- vege’ables, a con-iderable quantity of strawberries. But this acciden! had sadly put them about, for being obliged to hire a hand to work in the gårdın ground, nea ly all the money they took in the shor, or otherwise got, had to be devoted to tlo man's wages. But there was no alterna. tive, for uuless they did so, the crop of strawberries would, in all probability, fail, and upon this, under Providence, all their hopes for the future hung.

Early and late Ewmy and ber mother might have been seen carefully watching their garden of promise. And sometimes in the very stress of anxiety the mother and child knelt together in the little tool-shed, and supplıca'ed for the p'otection and blessing of their God and Father, whom they knew to be the God of nature as well as the God of grace.

But the poet Cowper has very truthfully said,

“God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform." Aud so it was with our strawberry-growers. After expending their little all on the ground, the spring and early summer proved to be unusually wet, literally rotting the fruit before it came to perfection. Oh, how the mother and child sat and shed tears together over their perishing fruit! And the poor man, as he lay on his bed of suffering, watched the descend

bolie injunction to

Sen. Reader,

ing rains, which continued day after day, with all the bitterness of despair. These riins would be their ruin. How could the

potion ?

One day the mother and child had succeeded in gathering a few quarts of tolerably fine fruit. The weather had held up for some hours, although it was again raining incessantly. But no time was to be lost in disposing of their gatherings. So while the mother proceeded to attend to the shop and manage the fruit, Emmy dressed herself sufficiently as she could to face the weather. She had not much choice of clothes, but she put on what was best calculated to keep her warm and dry.

She was but nine years of age, and a little thing, too, for that; so that, as she took the basket and hung it upon her little arm, and prepared to set out in order to vend the little fruit they had secured, she looked too young and weak to be exposed to such bad weather. But there was no help for it; indeed, she was only too glad to have any strawberries to offer for sale. So she scarcely noticed the weather, as she tripped lightly along from house to house, in the best neighbourhoods. And as the fruit was scarce she readily found customers, who, when they heard her simple, childish tale of the long destructive rains, and of the losses they had sustained, invariably refused to take any change out of the pieces of money which they gave her.

• It was very wet-wet-wet, still she continued her walk; she knew it was of great importance to them to sell what they had gathered at once.

And as the gay folk were chiefly within doorg-prisoners to the drenching rains--they were well pleased to see the little strawberry-seller entering the garden and offering the delicious fruit, so scarce that year, and for the most part so very inferior.

“Poor little girl!” said) many of the ladies, "you must be well paid for your strawberries to-day:

“Poor little girl !" said many a gentleman—the happy husband, or brother, or lover of some fair purchaser ; and without taking her fruit they dropped silver coins into her basket.

" How is it,” some inquired, " that your mother has sent you out this wet day P Why did she not come out with them her. self"

" Oh, she had to get the baskets ready," said the little Emmy: "but before this

I have no doubt she is round at the houses too."

“ Poor little girl!” said a lady.

“Oh, we are too glad, ma'am, to have any fruit to sell, to care for the wet," said Emmy.

And then she told again her oft-repeated tale of the destructive wet and the perishe ing, soddened strawberry beds.

Who could hear and not feel for little wet Emmy? So the purchasers paid her liberally that day.

When all the fruit was sold, little Emmy crossed the common towards her home. She had not counted her gains, but she had tied it all up-silver and coppers together; and she felt light at heart at what she believed would surprise and please her mother.

But upon reaching home her young heart was saddened by the sight of her mother weeping. A message had come from the infirmary stating that erysipelas had shown itself, and that her husband's ? life was in danger. So the mother was getting ready to go there.

Emmy was just in time to mind the shop in her mother's absence. It was no time to tell her success, so she put the money away safely in the cupboard till her mother's return.

Poor little thing! She loved her father. In his rough way he had always been kind to her. The child was naturally more delicate and soft-mannered, taking, per. haps, after, and being an improvement upon her mother, who before her marriage had been a lady's-maid. Roberts used to call Emmy the little lady; there was ! natural superiority about her. not had much education ; only just what she could get at the free school; but she learned readily, and retained what she learned.

Little lady, there was not much external resemblance, as Emmy sat down in their back room, after her mother had gone out, and divesting herself of her outer garments

, and shoes, and stockings, wrung the wet from them as though they had been taken out of the wash-tub. And then she spread them out before the morsel of fire over which the tea-kettle was singing lazily.

While thus engaged she had not given way to her grief for her father. Perhaps she had hoped it would yet take a favour able turn. "But now that she had nothing more to do, her thoughts lingered over

She had

« AnteriorContinuar »